Lobby groups make fizz while hot air swirls
Cantillon: Reality check needed to take the fizz out of hot air rumour
A storm in a teacup was caused this week by concern over Co2 supply which could impact breweries. Drinks giant Diageo says it has seen no impact. Photograph: iStock
Europe’s fizz is fast running out, its pigs and chickens are living marginally longer, and brewers are in a frenzy as bubble monitoring becomes a key business requirement.
None of this is quite true: in fact, there’s a bit of a supply issue with carbon dioxide (CO2) but it’s really nothing more than a story that keeps media types busy in the silly season.
This one in particular was broken by “gasworld.com” which described the blight as the “worst supply situation to hit the European carbon dioxide business in decades”.
It appears that initial concerns, stoked by gasworld to some degree, aren’t well-founded but do provide a platform for obscure lobby groups to show how concerned they are.
In the Republic, the Department of Agriculture played down the issue by saying it is “monitoring” the situation.
Silver Hill Duck, which supplies 98 per cent of the European market for head-on ducks, said it has “contingency plans in place”, but doesn’t believe it will be affected by the shortage.
Its poultry colleague, Moy Park, is also “carefully” monitoring the situation and taking “appropriate measures to mitigate any impact”.
Neither were more specific on their “measures” or “plans”.
The issue seems to be that the standard maintenance that takes place across the industry at this time of year, coupled with low ammonia margins at a time when drink production is at its peak, is putting a strain on supply.
But for Ireland, nobody seems overly concerned, except the Irish Brewers Association (IBA) which has started to see an “impact” on microbreweries. What is that impact? It can’t say, but guess what, it too is monitoring the situation.
For the likes of the IBA, news like this provides a platform that is generally unavailable. Interestingly, drinks giant Diageo has seen no impact so far. Go figure.